I'm really excited about my new series Badass Mamas. I hope this will be inspiring and that I can get express what these Mamas go through.
My first Badass Mama is Maira. I've actually known Maira for a few years and have a deep respect and admiration for her.
Maira is a Mama to three little girls, 5, 4 and 3. Yes she is one of those Mamas who had 3 under 3 at one point. She is also a Mama to a 7 year old boy! Her oldest Kennedie daughter was almost 2 when she was given an unofficial diagnosis of autism while having a 1 year old and pregnant all at the same time.
" I remember dismissing the autism evaluation. I heard of autism in the past and knew it was a learning disability but didn't really know what it is. I decided to pick up my phone later and google autism and that's when I realized she 100% has autism."
You can find out specific information on the range of autism here.
Specifically, Kennedie is non verbal. She knows vocabulary, she knows what things are, but she doesn't say words without being prompted. And when she does speak, quite often, it's not very clear. She has a difficult time with eye contact, and doesn't like loud noises so she likes to wear her noise cancelling head phones a lot. She is also a sensory seeker, so she's constantly looking for physical input, typically water. We went through a horrific toilet water phase. She also has the inability to recognize social clues, if you're smiling, crying or frowning she doesn't doesn't understand how to interpret them. And another big thing is she lacks the understanding of dangerous situations, she doesn't know that she shouldn't touch something hot, or that she shouldn't cross the street by her self because of cars, or that falling off of something up high might hurt.
A big misconception or something people don't often know is that autistic children can be very smart and some have an exceptionally high IQ. People with autism typically have a unique skill set, something they are really really good at. Kennedie is really good at puzzles. She's been doing them all on her own since a very young age. She's 5 and recently completed her first 400 piece puzzle. It was pretty fascinating to watch.
"For me, I went through a grieving process, then I became angry and would ask why me? Why would I be challenged like this? I'm a good mom. And that's when it hit me. I'm being challenged BECAUSE I'm a good mom. I'm not saying if you don't have a disabled child you're not a good mom, it's just how I started my way of thinking and coming to grips of the reality of being a mom to an autistic child. I started to become more proactive, more flexible and in doing so I learned to let go of my expectations of the future."
Mairas fears for Kennedie are intensified since she is non verbal. She doesn't know how she is feeling, what she is thinking and sometimes what she is trying to communicate. I think all Mama's can relate with certain fears they have with their kids who are able to communicate. Newborn babes can only communicate with their cries and sounds and it's up to you to find out what they're trying to say. Now imagine those fears while having a child who cannot communicate as they grow. Imagine them not being able to understand what danger is.
"I would have to say my biggest fear with Kennedie is her inability to communicate. At the moment she is unable to speak up about something if she doesn't like it. She can't tell me if someone did or said something to her, and being a little girl, that is just terrifying for me. The rate of sexual abuse in non verbal children is drastically higher than neurotypical kids and i just hate thinking about that. My other major fear is the fear of the unknown. I have no clue what Kennedie is going to be like in the future. I don't really know what to expect from her. I don't know if she'll go to college, have a boyfriend, get married, get a job. She may very well live with me for the rest of my life. It's scary not having any of that within my control, but I'm accepting it little by little. I know what needs to happen and I'm prepared for whatever that is."
Mairas life as a new Mama changed so quickly. All the "typical" Mama moments, the firsts, the questions that arise, all of the "normalcies" that we assume will happen did not happen for her and her Kennedie.
Everyday she takes care of her three little girls and is always striving to make her girls' lives a loving, happy and seemingly normal life. This Mama has taken the obstacles that were presented to her and is running through them. Hard days, hard months come and go, she might not know what the future will bring, but she has decided to embrace all her girls and accept each of them for who they are.